Chairwoman Napolitano's Statement from the Subcommittee’s Second Hearing in a Series on President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request
WASHINGTON, DC - House Transportation and Infrastructure Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) delivered the following opening statement during today's hearing titled, “President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request: Agency Policies and Perspectives (Part II):”
Today, we will hold our second hearing on the President’s fiscal year 2022 budget request and other policy goals and objectives of the Biden administration.
Let me start by commending the Biden administration for restoring critical funding and respect for the agencies under the jurisdiction of this Subcommittee, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Each of the agencies here today play a critical role in the management and stewardship of our water resources. Whether through regulatory efforts, conservation programs, or the treatment and research of water contaminants and impacts on human health, your work is more important than ever as we face increasing threats from climate change, extreme drought, and emerging pollutants.
This budget will help leverage additional funding from state, local, and non-profit partners, as well as make federal knowledge and expertise more accessible to communities.
Many of the programs provided by these agencies assist state and local governments by providing technical assistance and expert level knowledge for conserving land, managing water systems, mapping sea-level rise, and creating easy to use public websites to widely share data. It is important that these agencies work together and communicate their work effectively.
I am pleased to see that President Biden has proposed to reverse the destructive funding cuts and undo the damaging regulatory rollbacks of the previous administration.
Robust funding for these agencies and their programs is important to the delivery of clean water, understanding the potential health impacts of emerging contaminants, the conservation and preservation of wetlands and aquatic ecosystems, and the movement of goods and economic competitiveness of regions.
Additionally, across the country, our communities and environment are under unprecedented strain as we deal with the effects of climate change. Much of the west is facing extreme heat and drought. These are dangerous conditions for humans and our planet. I am interested in hearing from these witnesses on how we can better manage our resources today and understand and prepare for future needs and challenges.
We must take swift action to mitigate ongoing and future harm to our environment. Most critically, I hope the Administration moves quickly to replace the Trump Dirty Water Rule—which was the greatest undermining of the Clean Water Act in its history—and I urge its complete and immediate repeal. The longer this harmful regulation stays on the books, the more we will forever degrade and destroy our rivers and wetlands.
I am also pleased that the Biden administration has already taken action to make environmental justice a core part of every federal agency’s mission. For too long, minority and economically-disadvantaged communities have borne a disproportionate share of the burden of industrialization and pollution, and have been overlooked for necessary public health and environmental investment —a situation made even worse by the impacts of climate change. Addressing this disparity will improve public health, spur economic development in these communities, and create a more equitable society.
Today, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on your budget priorities and learning how you are planning to restore your offices to their sworn duties and mission areas that were so neglected over the past four years.